The Anthem of the Adventurer

S2 E3: Serving veterans through adventure - with Brad McLeod

Episode Summary

Today we talk with Brad McLeod, a retired Navy SEAL from SEAL Team 4, who runs SEAL Grinder PT! The big theme of Brad's life is how perseverance has developed his character, and brought hope to his life for a better future. You'll love hearing his stories and get inspired to go do some hard things (probably out in the woods on a bike!).

Episode Notes

Today we talk with Brad McLeod, a retired Navy SEAL from SEAL Team 4, who runs SEAL Grinder PT! The big theme of Brad's life is how perseverance has developed his character, and brought hope to his life for a better future. You'll love hearing his stories and get inspired to go do some hard things (probably out in the woods on a bike!).

Here's where to find all the awesomeness Brad McLeod is up to in the world:

If you want to read his awesome after action report from this year's TNGA race, here it is:

Episode Transcription

Dan Zehner  5:49  

Alright. Well, good morning, folks. We have a another awesome guest for you on the anthem of the adventurer podcast. We have Brad McLeod of Seal Grinder PT. Looking forward to talking to this guy. As you guys know, I love me some navy seals. So Brad, welcome to the show. Glad to have you today while you're driving to meet up with a client. This is great that we get to connect today.


Brad Mcleod  6:12  

Yeah, yeah. appreciate you taking the time to reach out to me. And yeah, I'm excited about your podcast, the whole, you know, idea. You know, it's something dear, dear to my heart, you know, getting out there and finding finding some adventure. So yeah!


Dan Zehner  6:29  

Yeah, I'm looking forward to getting into your story because you got some really good ones. And first, let's kick things off right with a challenge. Because I know you love a good challenge. And I would love to hear one from you. What can we do in the next week, maybe one or two things to create an environment where we can practice perseverance?


Brad Mcleod  6:51  



I'll give you one that's really simple. And it's one that, you know, we all have busy lives, you know, it seems like, you know, today more than ever, you know, one thing I hear is a fitness coaches, you know, coach, I don't have time, I'm traveling, I can't do this, or, you know, my work my family, you know, blah, blah, blah, on and on. Seems like we're so time constrained. So one thing that I a simple way to build discipline, and accountability, which, you know, are cornerstones of perseverance. You can't have perseverance, you don't have discipline. And so what I work with is what I practice daily. And when I talk with my athletes about is reading from a good book, every evening, for five minutes, at least two and some people are like, oh, five minutes, nothing or at least you five minutes. Yeah, at least you five minutes for 30 days, 30 Day Challenge. And, you know, and what I would urge them to do is eat to, you know, dig a little deeper into that book, and even a breakout, the 10 underlying sentences, things that make that resound with you and you know, what we're doing there is we're building a habit and without habits without without good habits. And without discipline, we can't build perseverance say when we're in the middle of a, you know, 24 hour bike ride or endurance event or what have you. So it's the little things that you do, right, that enable you to do the bigger things. And so instead of just saying, Hey, everybody should go out today and go run for one hour for distance. And, you know, and that would be great. But a lot of people would say, Oh, I don't have time, you know, I gotta go over here. I gotta do this. Everyone has time to read for five minutes. I don't care if you're a corporate executive. You're flying five days a week and you're on the road non stop. You're a truck driver. But everyone before they go to bed has five minutes to read. And what's the best thing about reading a good book before you go to bed? Is it counteract? The negative? The news? I mean, what's the opposite of that? Watching? Watching the news report before before you go to bed and what a lot of people do they they soak their they soak their brain and 30 minutes of just gnarly news, you know, the sky is falling before they get a breath. Yeah. Yeah, and and and we wonder why we're we have anxiety we have stress on and on. So it may be not the answer. It's not sexy. It's not glamorous. It's not, you know, down in the trenches dirty and sweating and climbing a mountain. But you got to do the small things before you do the big Yeah,


Unknown Speaker  10:00  

it might be that


Dan Zehner  10:03  

it's absolutely little things, those kind of, you know, really small steps that lead to really big change. That's awesome. What would be a book you would recommend? I know I've got some of my favorites. But what would you be like? Yeah, you should start with this one. If you don't have it on yourself yet.


Unknown Speaker  10:21  

If you want to, if you want to read something light and funny and inspiring. actually living with a Navy SEAL, Jesse Etsler. I've met Jesse last year, he really blew away my conception of him you know, I saw him as you know this entrepreneur and go go go kind of guy. And he turned out to be really not only incredibly funny, but he's really a Down to Earth emotional. He talks about the right things, I went into this a meeting, he was given a small talk with a select group of people. And you know, I thought he's going to come off with you know, all this stuff, you know, me, me, me are in our talking about you know, all this big business deals and, you know, how important it is to schmooze and network and talk about any of that talked about emotions and lot of and, you know, talking about the sexy stuff, you talk about the good stuff, man, it just gets you fired up stuff that anybody, anybody can activate, you know, you know, he, he hangs out with billionaires, millionaires. He's part owner of the Atlanta Hawks. And so, anyway, that that in a nutshell, you know, I would say that's a good book to, to break out is a lot of really good lessons in there. Of course, you know, David Goggins is the freak Navy SEAL that came to his home and taught him. So yeah.


Dan Zehner  11:57  

Goggins for a year... My God.


Brad Mcleod  12:00  

Yeah, and he's a whole nother subject, you know, so yeah, if you want to wear out a book and dog hear it, and some this kind of fun and light? Yeah, I would say, you know, that would be, you know, a quick, easy one to jump into. Yeah, five minutes for the next 30 days. And I'm telling you where that book out. I want to see blue lines in it and stars and, you know, dog ears and yeah, on and on. Yeah,


Dan Zehner  12:30  

yeah. We could do a whole podcast on marginalia techniques. There's all sorts of cool stuff. You can probably see my bookshelf in the background, I got a couple of Tim Ferriss books on the shelf there. And what I started doing, I put a table of contents for my notes in the first like, blank page in a book. And like, categorize things were like, Oh, that was a really good, like, turn of phrase, or a really good strategy or a tactic or, you know, good quote or something. And then, you know, whatever page number that was on, and it helps me like, remember, what good stuff is in the book?


Brad Mcleod  13:06  

Yeah, yeah. And I mean, that, you know, that book to ties into what we're talking about, about adventure, about perseverance about pushing yourself. I mean, you know, he is married to a billionaire. You know, the lady that started Spanx. I mean, I don't need to work out, you know, I'm saying he probably doesn't. He could sit on the couch all day and just, you know, watch, watch, watch your stock account, you know, just go up. And, you know, he could just chill. But instead, he's a guy is out there that's pushing the envelope that looking for adventure that's raising money for charities. And, you know, he's the kind of guy I would like to emulate to model. Yeah, yeah.


Dan Zehner  13:53  

It's really what makes life worth living. And you talked about focusing on the important things in life. And it's sounds like from the little bit we've gotten to interact, that you really value your families, let's let's talk about your your family a little bit. What's that? That like, makeup of your family and what what is life? Like?


Brad Mcleod  14:13  

Hey, you know, my wife is crazy and chaotic in certain at certain levels. You know, my, my daughter, unfortunately, she, she has a lot of medical needs. You know, she's got chronic pancreatitis. She's been in the hospital four times this year. You know, my son, you know, you know, he, you know, been working with him a lot, you know, some other things going on. But in a nutshell, yeah, yeah, I've been married for 20 years. It's, it's


Dan Zehner  14:45  

graduation, you know,


Brad Mcleod  14:47  

it, you know, it has its highs, it hasn't slows. But, you know, without it, I mean, that, you know, it's cliche to say it, but that is what keeps me grounded. And keeps me pushing forward, I will, I will be a good role model for my son, I will, you know, he sees me on these races, and my daughter to, you know, they see me on these races, and they're like, you know, that inspires them to be better. And so, you know, there's, yeah, there's a lot to be gained from that. Yeah, I like to raise and raise money for charity, and for veterans, especially. But, you know, it's about them to, you know, yeah, I may be away from them for three days, but the lasting impression of, you know, seeing their dad finished the drill, Time after time, and getting the job done and doing what he said he's going to do. You know, I think that's important, you know, and it may be kind of a character that we may be missing, or we may be losing somewhat in our society is, you know, there's not that much accountability. Not as much accountability, as I would like to see out there. And there's not enough men that are out there that have the balls to stand up and go out there and get the job done. Do what they say they're going to do and be a good role model for the family. So I see the races that I do the adventure I do, as a means to help build my family.


Dan Zehner  16:25  

That's awesome. It's It's so important. It's so cool that like, just by by being that model, you you can see that model back in your kids like, a couple weeks ago, my son, we did a five K, and he's five. So he did, he did the one K part. And he's like, after he finished it, like he came in Second Life is fast. And he's like,


I said, I was gonna do it. And I did it. I was like,


that's awesome. Alex, you know


what that is? Like? No, like, that's integrity.


You said, you're going to do something? You did it. And that is awesome. And I'm so proud of you. Like, Dad, I've got integrity. Like what five year old is so proud that he has integrity? Like I love that.


Brad Mcleod  17:06  

Yeah, there's a lot of adults


probably couldn't give you the definition.


into them or,


you know, so yeah, five year old. That's pretty remarkable. You're making, you know, obviously, you're, you're setting the stage for your son to have huge rewards later on in life. Yeah.


Dan Zehner  17:32  

Yeah. Not that I do it perfectly all the time. But it's really cool when those moments happen.


Brad Mcleod  17:38  

Amen. Hey, none of us do. We are we're all falling forward as dads, you know, and, you know, that's, you know, that's the thing about, you know, I'm not sitting there saying, I've got the answers or whatever. But I know, I'm going to get out there and try every day. So yeah.


Unknown Speaker  17:55  

That's awesome.


Dan Zehner  17:57  

So how did you get to this point in life? You've been you've got an incredible story, can you give us a little bit of like, how you got into the seals, what your career there was like, and then we can get into how you started into these crazy races? You do?


Brad Mcleod  18:13  

Yeah, wow. You know, just, it's been a really long journey. Six now, you know, you know, really take you back there, like 16 years old, you know, I was starting High School, you know, skinny hat, you know, wasn't he couldn't make it in any sport. And, you know, I've always been short, you know, I'm like, five, seven, and a Tom Cruise five, seven and a half on a good day. You know, and so, you know, you know, got kicked around a lot in middle school, high schools, you know, the whole, you know, everybody wants to bullied a little kid or whatever. But how did that you know, just really kind of forged me and, you know, always kind of had a chip on my shoulder. And I always wanted


Dan Zehner  19:07  

common trait of seals of like, getting bullied and stuff


Brad Mcleod  19:12  

Hey, I'll tell people in a good way, I still have a chip on my shoulder. Don't Don't be a Don't be talking to me about stuff that can't be done. Because I'm like, my, my ears starts perking up. People talk about hard races. I'm like, Where's this race? Where? That tell me? Really, I mean, come on, how freaking hard is real hard. But now cut to the chase. You know, I just really, you know, you know, I was doing the whole High School, teenage boy, kid thing, you know, just, you know, staying out late drinking and getting in trouble. And, you know, really, but, you know, it just wore on me, you know, 17, 18,19 I graduated high school, I started college college, to meet local community college didn't didn't know what I wanted to do. And, you know, really just the I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. of not of not having a, I was a, I was a leaky rowboat without a sail without paddles without a rudder. Without a compass. I was just like, Whatever way but she's pushing me whichever way. And I somewhere deep and down. Deep down inside. I just said, You know what, I'm better than this. I I want to be better. I want to do something




is better, a better than where I'm at right now. And I really I just started reading a lot. And I'm trying to absorb a lot of, you know, information. And I just I read a book about frogmen. And I literally, I was spellbound. I was like you, men and green faces with it. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. And they even say that that book was part fiction. But I'm like, I don't care. I mean, you know, I read, I read comics books as a kid about frogmen. And I was like, you know, with them, you know, the old Apollo 11. You know, land, they would, you know, drop those out in the ocean frogmen would be the group that would go and get them. And that was just, when I when I read all of that about being a frog, man, I was like, You gotta be kidding me. And it was, you know, definitely wanted about the money part of it, or whatever. I mean, back in the 80s. I made like, $20,000, or whatever, it had nothing to do with money or anything. It was about going out there and just doing something that was frickin cool. And given me a sense of purpose, now I've got a compass. And you know, how am I gonna get there? I gotta get, I gotta get a sale. I gotta get a rudder. I gotta get a plan. And, you know, so for me, this was like, you know, your 17 year old high school boy in Iowa out baling hay, the heartland of the USA and oh, I'm going to go to Hollywood. I mean, this was this was so young become an actor, but yet I've never. You never had the first drama class, you know? Or never been in the first place. So for me to say I was going to become a Navy SEAL. Everyone was just like, Ah, yeah, right, bro. And so that would that chip on my shoulder. I was like, What? What are you talking about? And so the more they said I couldn't do it. Oh, bro. It was all dead. And so I got in the gym, and I started lifting weights. I did everything wrong. That was supposed to do and yeah, went out to BUD/S in Coronado. That's it for me that was like going to Hollywood. And yeah, as you can imagine, you know, nine out of 10 guys that are standing on that BUD/S grinder BUD/S: basic underwater demolition (SEAL), and Coronado Navy SEAL frogman training. That's where it starts day one, and the grinders, asphalt kind of parking lot where we do our calisthenics. So for me to start out there, I'm looking around like everybody there I mean, it's like going playing D one ball with Alabama or Notre Dame or something. Everybody there's talented, everybody, there's elite, every you know, most of the guys there you know 5' 9" 5' 10" even some six foot two just chiseled warriors. And so I had a massive wake up call. It was like, the first week I was scared shitless out of like, bro, you're, you're gonna die. This I had every I you know, I did kind of believe in myself. But you know, cut to the chase is I ended up failing out the first time through BUD/S. So you know, for a math test of all things. And what it showed me what it showed me going through hell week that's you know, a whole week without any would like an hour worth of sleep and just getting the Piff beat out of you, non freakin stop 24 hours a day, day after day after day, you know, Sunday night through Friday. But what it showed me is that like, you know what, it doesn't matter that you're this six foot to choose a warrior. And that you're a ladder, you know, and all these guys were Letterman or that, you know, they played High School, football, or they were all jocks, or they, you know,


cross country runner, they said, that does, that's not what matters and instructors, they don't care that you can do 20 paws, what they care a lot about is that you're you you won't quit, you won't quit in battle, you won't quit when the everything's just, you know, gone to shit. That's more important to them than the guy that can do 20 pull ups. Yes, you got a certain baseline that you have to adhere to in terms of physicality. But, you know, it's often said, by does 80%, mental 20% physical, I completely believe that and that they're looking for the guys that won't quit under any circumstances, guys that are unshakable. And, you know, I taught and I was like, well, damn, I can do that. I've been test on kid on called every name in the book, all my lives being kicked around, bullied. You know, screw you this at one. Well, I've been, you know, I got in the bus with them. It's a much nothing to me. I've been called all these names before, those Letterman, that were being degraded and abused, we're live well, damn, nobody's ever taught me like that, you know, nobody's ever made me do. I've never gone 24 hours. And I saw these guys quitting. You know, because their ego got in the way. And they, you know, once they, once you kind of drill down to it, it really didn't want to be there. You know, everybody wants to wear the try it, try it on a sunny day. When you're getting the shit kicked out of you, and you're in your car, when you're tired, you're hungry. It ain't fun. You gotta dig down and decide, you know, in NA, about the glamour, it ain't about the money, the $20,000. You know, it's about you know, do you really want to be a frog man, this is what frog men do. They get in the mud when it's cold, and crawl through the marsh, you know, to go try and get to an objective to take out a target. That's what we do as frog net, you can't get around that. So if you can't hang with you, all of ours are called to the slimy cold mud, then you're out of here. And so that was really the thing I did sort of Tiffany or the shining light is I just said, Hey, I know I don't have to be an A plus athlete. It ain't about who's first. And who's got the best scores, it's all about who ain't gonna quit. Yeah, on this day. And as a Bro, I got that, because I ain't going out unless I got an oxygen mask on my face. And I'm in a stretcher. Not going to happen. So yeah, cut to the chase on that. One is I went back buds, finished buds went on to, you know, work at SEAL Team four and get my Trident and be deployed. And yeah, just six years in the Navy. And it was awesome. In that they paid for my college and, you know, set the stage for everything I would do later in life. nothing I've ever done hasn't been built off. What else learning buds and the complete war to complete 180 turnaround of being sick and tired. Really just being you know, I wasn't nobody, you know, in society. I wasn't contributing, I wasn't doing the right things that, you know, I was worthless. And so this gave me a new lease on life. This is my second camp. And from there on, it became all about, you know, what can I do? To be a productive member of society? What can I do to to help others?


You know, what can I do to push myself forward? That's awesome.


Dan Zehner  28:43  

It's, it's so amazing. Like, every time I get to talk to a SEAL about their kind of origin story, there's, there's just those common threads of like, yeah, I quit is not a word I even know. And, and then that, that, after that comes the sense of, I'm not going to quit, and I'm going to do everything I can to better the people and the causes and the country that I care about, which is just amazing.


Brad Mcleod  29:20  

Yeah, I mean, here it is. I'm riding in a race for charity for veterans. And, you know, I've heard this said before, and I completely believe it, I mean, for the veterans that have given their lives. You know, just, you know, what, we're to Normandy, I'm just thinking of these huge battles. And, you know, it's our job, my job is to be living a life that is worthy of their sacrifice. You know, what, you know, what could be worse is it, you know, to go out there and just, and live this pathetic, worthless, self centered life, that doesn't do anything to help others I want to be, I want to be what those veterans fought for, you know, I, you know, so I want to live that life that's worthy of their sacrifice every day. So turn, you know, that permeates everything we have out there. And it's, it's storming and, you know, it's hot, it's cold, it's shaped, it's whatever. These are small, little small discomforts, compared to their sacrifice. Yeah.


Dan Zehner  30:34  

What is like, one of your favorite story, either from your time in the SEALs, or after of where, you know, you got through some some real tough stuff you didn't maybe even know if you were going to get out of it. But then once were you were able to, you know, recover and reflective like, Man, this was really fulfilling.


Unknown Speaker  30:56  



Brad Mcleod  30:59  

Yeah, I mean, just, you know, just getting through hell week, getting getting through BUD/S, dive comp. You know, just, you know, that gave me a lot of confidence. And, you know, for me, comfidence is everything. And I want to say confidence. I don't mean, necessarily swagger, I don't mean that, you know, puffing your chest out, I mean, that, you know, we all have to have a belief in ourselves, we all have to have a certain level of self love. And I don't mean that from an egotistical standpoint, but I mean it from that you can be the greatest athlete in the world. But if you don't have a belief in yourself, then you know, everything is going to crumble when you truly are faced with adversity, and you begin to question yourself, and so if you don't have that ingrained in yourself, at a very high level, you know, that belief, it's built over time. And that's where that you know, getting to hell with getting through buds. Dive comp, you know, that's where you're, you're turned upside down, they pull your regulator out of your out of your mouth, they flood your you know, it's, it's scary, you know, you're underwater, you can't you got water in your lungs, you can't breathe and you don't dare go to the surface, you go to the surface, you're, you know, after two times, you're out you're out of BUD/S. So, the Yeah, so it's do or die, you know, and that's how BUD/S all this every day, there's the cut is unrelenting. I mean, they're always on your ass, non freaking stop, and they want to cut you, they tell you, we want to send the hurt many you out here right now. You shouldn't be here and we're gonna, we're gonna, we're going to get inside your mind, we're going to drill down inside your brain, and we're going to make you quit. Or you're going to saunter here, here here. And you know, our class at 140. Starting 16 hours graduate, you know, I mean, it was, it was, yeah, it was a pretty epic,




They, they, they sifted, they sifted us and strained us and then shifted us again. I mean, it was. So yeah, when you come through something like that, belief in yourself is extremely high. And that translates to everything else in life, you don't have that confidence. Then, you know, you know how you're going to hold down a day job, how you gonna, you know, whatever you're doing in life, you know, sales. You know, just, you know, trying to go out run that first five K, like you said, with your son, you know, there's got to be some inkling of a belief in yourself. Now that your son's finished that five K, like, wow, I I know, I can do this. I can do it again. I think I can mark you go run a 10K because I believe in myself because I finished that five K. They talk about perseverance and not quitting and, and how you build on that. I mean, that's those are those are building blocks right there to create an elite athlete to create an elite entrepreneur. You know, it can all start right there with that five K.


Dan Zehner  34:23  

Yeah, it's really funny how it starts. And now you know, you build up like, over the summer I did a 50 mile race. Why not? Yeah, race team race, go to the GORUCK star course. And man, yeah. You know, a couple years ago, you told me that I was able to do that I would have called you insane.


You know, like, holy crap, we actually did this. Now, what's next? Now? This is possible. Yeah, can I do?


Brad Mcleod  34:54  

You would have told my friends at 16, 17, 18 and 19 years old, their parents that hey, I got an inside tip for you. Brad McLeod's going to become a Navy SEAL. Going to travel the world. And after that in life, he's going to go on and become a successful business person and raise thousands of dollars 10s of thousands of dollars for charity for veterans, be a productive citizen. They would laugh your ass off. There's no, there's no freaking way. Right. So yeah, I mean, it's we have to find a way to win to build that spark. To create a really not even to create, to allow it to unfold, we have this, we have this life ready to unfold. But only if we get out of our own way. Yeah, I was in my own way. I was in my own way before, you know, staying out late drinking, can barely show up to school the next morning or work. You know, I was in my own way. Once I got out of my own way. He's door started opening. And so I can say no one would have believed that I would have been able to do those things. I didn't think I could do those things. But once I started to see the doors opening, I was like, Oh my gosh, the potential, our own self potential is limitless. So it's like, Why Why? Why am I holding myself back? Standing in my own way, I gotta get out of all way quickly. So you see what, see what this cool life is ahead of me that I can I can potentially live, you know. So?


Dan Zehner  36:38  

Yeah, that's, like the definition of hope. Right? Like that. You've, you've persevered through this, this tough stuff, you started to get some confidence. you've built your character. And now you're like, oh, wow, the whole world is is ahead of me, I've got hope that the future is going to be amazing.


Brad Mcleod  36:57  

Yeah, and I mean, if you look at that,


that that can be one of the most important things in life, we all want to have hope. You know, we all you know, if you look back even at, you know, prisoners of war in the German concentration camps, you know, those that persevere, at some level had some level of hope. That was the famous movie where the Italian guy was,


him and his son were both Jewish,


Jewish religion, they were being persecuted, they were in a concentration. And the father created hope, he created this complete illusion for the son to show him he didn't want him to truly know they were in a prisoner of war camp. And so it was like they were, they were in summer camps, and the name of the movie escaping me right now. But creating hope, in your own mind. You know, based on reality, I'm not just saying like, yeah, just make me just make something up. But you know, that reality was I finished Hell Week. I have this huge amount of hope that I can go on to do great things. I know it's within me now. Right. And so you know, those people who have that mechanism you know, I mean, look at Barack Obama, his whole campaign was based on hope, you know, so not not to get political, whether you like Barack Obama or not, but that's something that people want. Yeah, that's something that people will desire, at a really high level. Doesn't matter what side of political spectrum you're on. Everybody everyone wants to know, and feel and believe that they have a better future ahead of them. So if you can create that in your own mind.


That's like winning the lottery.


Dan Zehner  39:08  

Yeah. Doing a quick Google search at this Life is Beautiful. That movie. I gotta go watch, y'all. Yeah.


Brad Mcleod  39:15  

Yeah. I need to watch that again and read the book. Because that, yeah, that struck me as Wow, this guy, no matter what's happening, his impending doom, you know, him and being in a concentration camp. He's found a way to give a spark of hope to his son, you know. And so yeah, that's, yeah, I have to go back and watch that movie again and read the book. So yeah,


Dan Zehner  39:49  

I gotta check that out. So you talked a bit about it. I want to get into more detail about all these awesome, you know, races adventures you're doing for veterans gate. Tell us about a few of those that you've done and the effect that that's had on on you and the those causes that you're you're supporting?


Brad Mcleod  40:11  

Yeah, you know, I'm


the biggest race I do is called the trans North Georgia adventure of all things. TNGA is offered by offering bike race, it's mostly single track, gravel road. Jeep trails, you got to navigate your way through the forest. Very little amount on asphalt, it's unsupported 350 miles across the North Georgia, mountains, 50,000 feet of elevation. So essentially, that's to mount to Mount Everest. From sea level. Yes, you don't have the altitude, but you know, to solid Mount Everest fit inside the elevation profile of that race and 350 miles, so it's packs a heavy punch. This year alone over over half the field quit, including the elite riders. And so for me, this is my fifth time doing it five times in a row. I finished off five times. And so every year yeah, I just I picked the earliest ride that I could find in say the southeast, the East Coast. Some people say even in the US, mile for mile. Some people say this is one of the if not the hardest mountain bike race, per the 360 miles. It's done in August. It's in North Georgia, as you imagine it's a little bit on the warm sighs Yeah, brain, you're going to get caught lightning storms. heat exhaustion. That's number one knockout punch. That takes a lot of riders out. Yeah. But yeah, I wouldn't want it any other way. I wouldn't want an easy course. And I want I want it to be hard. I want to persevere. I'm looking to I'm looking to change myself. I'm looking to change my character. And if it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you. And so it has to challenge me at the highest level, or I'm not going to it just doesn't interest me. So yeah, five years in a row. Yeah, you can check out my crowd rise fundraising page. I think we raised like, 28,000 in the last five years. Awesome. And yeah, so that's, that's my way, you know, to raise awareness for veterans, raise funds for veterans. And, you know, if I have working arms and legs, and there's a lot of veterans out there right now that don't, they're sitting in a hospital bed, and you know, they've got a lot of medical challenges. And so I'm going to do whatever it takes to get off my ass to get off the couch and do something productive to help them because they've helped our society in in at the highest level, you know, at least in my opinion, you know, without those veterans sacrificed. I mean, we could be speaking German right now, we could be speaking yakking right now, we could be speaking Japanese right now. We don't we don't know. I mean, without those defenders,


democracy and


our way of life. And that's incredibly important to me. And I'll do anything to raise the flag to help them.


Dan Zehner  43:40  

That's awesome. I went with a group. My wife and I, we took our youngest over to France to Normandy this past June for the 75th anniversary of D day. Yeah. The GORUCK crew and did a GORUCK challenge and got to meet some of the some of those veterans who were there, you know, they're still 99 years old. One of them. He was talking about his in the 116th Division and he's talking about that, just how grateful he was for the guys who laid down their lives so he could live and just impressing upon us the importance of Hey, it's your turn now. We won this for you with with blood, sweat and tears and lives and and you got to protect it. So nobody ever has to do what we did ever again.


Brad Mcleod  44:32  

Yeah, yeah. My great great uncle Terrance Massey, young paratrooper. Unfortunately, killed in World War Two and he's buried there at Normandy, my brother and my brother and I both into the grave side and been to the beach. And so yeah, when you're talking about Normandy man that shows on the back of, you know, chills in the back of my neck, I'm talking about that. And, you know, it really rings true from an emotional standpoint with me. And so yeah, that's when I race it's like, you know, how dare me even think about getting off my bike. Because I've got a little bit of discomfort, you know, chapped, or I've got, you know, heat rash or my legs are cramps, you know? I'll have to do is think about Normandy think about my great, great uncle Terrence Massey. Think about the veterans who really sacrifice I'm doing and really, it really isn't that much of a sacrifice, you know, compared to what they've done.


Dan Zehner  45:37  

Yeah. How long does that race take by the way you'd like for average? person going through it?


Brad Mcleod  45:44  

Yeah, you know, I I've done it in four days. You know, it's you know, a lot of it's just sleeping in the woods. I did get a hotel. really gnarly d minus hotel this time I'm around. I got caught a bad lightning storms. Oh, man. But it just flooded me out. And there was a gnarly hotel down the hill from where I was at 12 midnight I you know, rolled into this play soccer and went and got Excel but but yeah, last you know, for you see, guys do it. Three, four, and gals 3,4,5,6 days even. But no matter how you slice it, I mean, it's it's still an unsupported race. It's still the mountain to Georgia. Yeah, it's still frickin hard.


Dan Zehner  46:36  

Yeah. And we may have to have a whole separate conversation about that race, because I'm looking at it now going. That looks like a lot of fun.


Brad Mcleod  46:46  

Yeah, you know, it really is.


Unknown Speaker  46:48  

I'm, you know,


Dan Zehner  46:51  

I will, I will do a lot of training if I ever take this on. And it will do it in a way that I'm not going to kill myself if anybody is worried about me. But this looks like a heck of a lot of fun. Yeah.


Brad Mcleod  47:02  

Yeah, yeah. No, it's definitely an adventure. It's, I mean, you know, it's, you know, you're, you're out there and you're filtering your own water. you're navigating your own way. Of course, you get lost. Yeah, a lot. Lot of lot of fun. interesting stories in the woods there. So, so yeah, and I write up trip reports from every trip, every race, big race I do. And I've got some Facebook video and this one, and it actually shows me coming in from the evening. Coming into that hotel, and some of the interesting characters I met there. And the hotel. Yeah, so. So I'll post up that link, it's going to be on my Facebook feed. But even if you just look at my Facebook, you'll scroll through, you'll see some of the video. I did like four or five videos. Just just kind of showing, you know what's going on.


With the race and all so yeah,


Dan Zehner  48:01  

so somebody wanted to train up for that, like, say they're in good shape, you know, they've been, you know, physically active in training or whatever, but haven't done bike packing before. Like, where, where would you start?


Brad Mcleod  48:17  

Yeah, I would just I would go


find a local mountain bike race. You know, maybe you can find a 30 or 60 mile or something like that. And, you know, give it a go. You know, if you've been out mountain by, you know, mountain bike racing, you know, you know, the 30 or 50 miler like that, I think that would be a good start. And, you know, work your way up to where then you're doing it the whole overnight thing, you know, I talked to lightweight bivvie with me, and you know, you know, rain jacket, gear, dry socks, all that. So figuring out what gear you're going to use that can be, you know, a big challenge, especially when all your stuff gets wet.




so yeah, I would, I would say, look, look at a local race, one that you can do in a few hours, and then go home and take a shower and get your own bed and, and then write down your notes from that. Just see, you know, where are you at? And then, you know, can you build up to do an 80 mile or 100? Or do to 50 milers and camp overnight. You know, exactly the other side of bike pack racing is you just can't get a hotel every night. You're gonna have, you're gonna have to sleep in the woods at some point. And so do you have the right gear? Is it going to keep you dry? Is it going to keep you from getting too cold? You know, you're going to have to have the right gear. So, and I light up a trip report, like I say, and you'll see you know, some of the gear that you use and kind of how what works and what doesn't.


Dan Zehner  49:53  

Cool. I'm definitely going to check that out a little good after action review.


Brad Mcleod  49:59  

Yeah, yeah.


Dan Zehner  50:01  

This is awesome. Oh, man. You got you got the gears spinning. I like why I've been drawn to mountain biking lately. So much, you know, Indiana, there's hardly any of it until you go south and me. But we've got a nice little trail that's fairly challenging for a new trail rider like me, just like 10 minute drive from my house. And it's like, a mile, mile and a half, I think, kind of curves upon itself. And there's some good downhill parts. And I've been wondering why I've been so attractive lately. So I can start training for something like this.


Brad Mcleod  50:42  

Yeah, you know, every time I do one of these races, I have, you know, athletes, aspiring athletes call me, email me, I get all kind of messages and feel, hey, I want to do something like that. How can I do it. And, you know, I pick up several coaching clients just from that that's not my goal to do that. But my goal is to inspire other people. So if in some way, it gets other people off the couch, they don't have to go do a TNGA 350. But if they could do on their first 30, their first 50 miler, their first overnighter, I mean, that's huge. That's like trying to go do that first five K, that's, you know, finding in yourself that ability to get off the couch and go do something that really is pretty cool. And inspires you and you want to do it. And so really, that's, you know, the other side of the whole this whole equation. Yes. I want to raise money for veterans. Yes, I want to be a role model for my kids. But I mean, the side effect of that is inspiring others. You know, you never know who is going to see what you did. And a year later, they may have lost 30 pounds or 40 pounds, or they you may have done the first 10 k You know, that's all


Yeah, I mean,


everything that we're doing here,


Dan Zehner  52:10  

man, that's so great. Um, where can people find you know, a bit more about your business and the things you're doing as we're as we're wrapping up here? I know, both of us have got a stuff coming up here. We gotta get get to, but really want to hear it? Where can people follow you?


Brad Mcleod  52:29  

Yeah, they can just in a Google search, just type my name Brad, McLeod mc LEOD. And I'll pop right up on it. You know, you can type in SEAL as in Navy SEALs, the animal seal, grinder PT. That's my business. grinder as in coffee grinder, PT as in physical training, SEAL Grinder PT. You just type that into Google, you'll find it, you'll find my website. And you'll find the charities that I help raise funds for our crowd rise. So I'm really easy to get in touch with all my phone number, my phone number personal phone numbers on the website. real real I talked to athletes all day long on the phone and email. So I really enjoy that part of it. So really need to get in touch with


a nutshell. Yeah.


Dan Zehner  53:24  

Cool. We'll make sure to put links to all that everywhere. And, man, I'm looking forward to talking about bike packing with you in the near future.


Brad Mcleod  53:33  

Yeah, now we could do a whole nother call. Yeah, it's the whole weekend itself. And it's its own little subculture, you know, as, as are many of these ultra events, you know, you show up your event, you know, about half the people there. The other crazies, you know, I got psycho rock, you know?


Dan Zehner  53:52  

Oh, yeah. It's great. Like, crazy. I see somebody, you know, they're ruck patch on and go.


Brad Mcleod  53:59  

Oh, man, what was your the last event? Once you're not out? Yeah. Yeah, it's 30 minutes later, you're still talking about I know. Exactly. Yeah.


Dan Zehner  54:08  

I mean, that's what adventure leads to right is is just, you know, closer bonding with with your fellow man. And there's nothing like mutual suffering to bring people together.


Brad Mcleod  54:19  

Oh, yeah. No, no, exactly. I mean, yeah. You can now race with somebody, you will see him agenda the next year to go. I remember seeing you. It was like one in the morning up there. And, you know, up on Stanley gap, and you know, we're both whip down. And, you know, but yeah, I mean, you just remember these moments with other people that it's just, it's kind of like tattooed in your brain. You know, where you never forget other people that you've ridden with and suffered with or been on a GORUCK with, you remember their faces, you remember that? You know, you remember their names where they were from? because everything's amplified. Everything's amplified. And when you're in that, that state of, you know, some level of embracing the suck, so to speak. Yeah.


Dan Zehner  55:09  

Dude, that was awesome. And, and actually a perfect quote to end the interview. I appreciate that.


Unknown Speaker  55:16  

Yeah, dude. Yeah,


Dan Zehner  55:19  

it's so awesome. talking with you. I'm looking forward to, to, you know, growing our friendship through adventure and looking forward to seeing all the awesome things you're up to. And, man, I just so glad I got to meet you and looking forward to everything. That's next. I hope you have a fantastic rest of your drive. And let's talk again soon for sure.


Brad Mcleod  55:40  

Alright, man, yeah, yeah. Thanks so much for the interview and taking the time. I really appreciate it. And yeah, man. Yeah, let's do another interview. I'll be psyched to work


Unknown Speaker  55:50  

right on. Take care.


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